What is your impression of Elizabeth Proctor by the end of Act 2 of The Crucible?

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Elizabeth Proctor has been seen in numerous lights by the end of the second act of the play.  The only impressions that we get of her from the first act are those given by other people.  Abigail obviously doesn't have a very good impression of Elizabeth, and if we believe what she says, we will think that Elizabeth is cold, gossipy, cruel, dishonest and unmerciful.  However, if you are a discerning reader, you will probably recognize that Abby has ulterior motives in thinking that way of Elizabeth, and so will postpone your judgment of her until you get to know her yourself.  It is easy to feel a bit sorry for Elizabeth when we learn that her husband had an affair on her; that in combination with Abby's accusations, make one at the very least curious about her.

In act two, at first Elizabeth comes off as demure and eager to please her husband.  She is cautious and careful in her words.  As she accurately predicts events that come later in the act, it turns out that she is pretty wise and discerning, especially about the nature of women and how they feel about things.  It's easy to have sympathy for her; she is the jilted wife who has concerns about Abby, concerns that are pretty valid.  However, it is also easy to conclude that Elizabeth is very judgmental and has overly high expectations of those around her.  She is a bit cold and immovable in her opinions of others, and not very forgiving.  By the end of the act, when she quietly submits to the officers who are arresting her, it's easy to feel bad for her, and to admire her calm fortitude in the face of such horrible events.

I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

Read the study guide:
The Crucible

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question